Google has brought Playtime, its developer education event, back to San Francisco with some news for those that help to make Android awesome. If you missed the event or the video highlights, there is a handy blog post with a summary of the information announced. The most interesting points from it are that Google is now giving developers the ability to run subscription promotional prices and to see which users have requested refunds. Fun stuff, right?
It's Nexus Eve Day, and let's be honest, nobody is getting any work done because we're reading all of the exciting news about tomorrow's announcements. Your wish list may already be written and tucked beneath your pillow waiting for St. Matias to give it a look. While we await the big event, Google actually has some of its own official news to share today. As it turns out, Google is raising the maximum apk file size on the Play Store from 50 MB to 100 MB.
Android developers gain a lot of advantages from working on a platform with a wide variety of libraries, open source projects, and other resources to help get their work to the finish line. Unfortunately, if a problem can’t be solved by checking out the SDK samples or reading a few dozen StackOverflow questions, it can be pretty hard to find good alternatives when they are most needed. Before giving up on the tricky problems, or possibly before attempting them, check out Android-Libs.com – a registry of open source code, libraries, handy websites, utilities, and other tools that may be useful to Android developers of all types.
Google may produce Android and maintain Google Play so that we can easily get content onto our devices, but at the end of the day, it's the developers that make the magic happen. They create the apps that make Android devices worth buying in the first place. So it's good news to see, as we would expect, that the Android 4.4 SDK is now available. Developers can make the upgrade from directly within the Android SDK Manager.
Google Play for Education, unveiled during Google I/O, is a program to get Nexus tablets into the hands of students and provide a curated app store offering content to fill those tablets with. Google released a video today aimed at the developers who may someday produce the apps that will eventually populate their store. It's also an interesting watch for educators curious about what technology may soon enter their classrooms and parents tired of their children learning on iPads (assuming their classrooms have tablets at all).
The video demos the app store in action, which should look familiar to anyone visiting this site.
Google debuted its brand new Purchase Status API today, pitching the product to developers looking for a way to remotely verify their app's in-app purchases through Google Play. It's a backend product that enables the remote query of the status of a specific in-app product or subscription, and it supports cancelling said subscription, if desired. It should also be noted that a unique purchase token is required to make the call, and that token is only given to the device. The API itself is built using HTTP and JSON, so any standard web stack can communicate with it. In short, this is a good API for verifying and following up on a purchase after it has been made.
Google has been pushing developers to build tablet-optimized UIs for their apps since the Xoom was the hot new challenger to the iPad (haha). Okay, so that didn't work out very well, but with the release of devices like the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, devs are finally starting to see the value of building a great tablet experience. Of course, it's not like you'd know. The Play Store is terrible at showing off tablet UIs, but that's about to change. Google is updating the developer console to verify tablet compatibility and break up screenshots for tablet/phone interfaces.
From now on developers uploading apps will have the option to verify they have adhered to the tablet UI guidelines for 7 and/or 10-inch slates.
We've hearda lot ofnumbers about the number of Android device activations per day in the past, but it's always nice to see it displayed visually. AndroidDevelopers has posted a very cool video that does just that, showing the number of Android activations throughout the world from the beginning - all the way back to the G1 - to January 2011. It's a nice reminder of just how far the platform has come. Take a look for yourself below.
The H Open wrote an interesting article on a post from developer Jon Lech Johansen’s blog. Johansen, co-founder and CTO of doubleTwist, had some pretty legitimate complaints about and suggestions for the Android Market. For example:
The Android Market is available in 46 countries; developers can only offer paid apps in 13 of those
Prices for foreign apps are not displayed in a users local currency – they are displayed in the dev’s currency
Developers can’t customize their price by country – they set it in one currency, and it is automatically converted into others at the current exchange rate
Foreign apps can’t be paid for with American Express or billed to your phone plan
No support for in-app changelogs or payments
Google is too hands-off about the market - there are more than a few apps that are blatantly illegal
All in all, they seem like very reasonable complaints to me, and most seem like they would be (comparatively) easy enough to fix.